Disability Sports Coach

15 October 2021

Ecclesiastical UK

Children in wheelchairs playing basketball - connecting for wellbeing

Connecting for wellbeing

“Paul waits for his carer by the window every Saturday morning; he knows he is going to Club Islington. When his carer arrives, he doesn’t stop smiling.”

Paul’s mum, Susan, loves seeing her son so happy and hugely appreciates the support she gets from Disability Sports Coach clubs. And as winners of Ecclesiastical UK’s 2019 Movement for Good awards, Disability Sports Coach has been given a grant of £50,000 to help run a series of five inspirational sports events for disabled people – as well as to help grow its weekly sports clubs across London.

Disability Sports Coach firmly believes that being active has a positive impact on disabled people’s lives. To help enable this, they provide award-winning sport and physical activity opportunities specially for the disabled community and educational organisations. As well as providing safe, inclusive spaces, they provide coaches who offer specialist support. They also look at the physical and social improvements that come from being physically active – such as balance, coordination and communication.

Talking about the award, Disability Sports Coach’s fundraising manager Amardeep Gill says: “It’s absolutely amazing news, we couldn’t quite believe it. It is going to help us ensure we have additional coach capacity for our clubs to meet demand, so that even more disabled people can benefit from weekly sports sessions and get more personalised support.”

With COVID-19 forcing the closure of their clubs, the team at Disability Sports Coach have found creative ways to help keep their members motivated, to stay active and feel part of a community during these challenging times. They have sent out packs with items like table tennis sets, skipping ropes and tennis balls together with a Home Activity Programme written by specialist Disability Sports Coach educators. They’ve also developed a range of weekly online activities, like Zoom sessions, quizzes and social media activity challenges – all aiming to motivate as many disabled people as possible to be active in the safety of their homes – and have a great time doing so.

“There was a real risk that members of the disabled community could become even more isolated and lonely,” says Peter Ackred, Chief Executive of Disability Sports Coach. “We know just how powerful community sport can be for improving disabled individuals’ mental and physical health, so we were determined to keep people engaged, connected and active during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Reaching close to 2,000 disabled people so far, for members like Sam, Disability Sports Coach’s ongoing support has been vital. As Sam’s mum explains: “Disability Sports Coach Zoom sessions are the highlight of Sam’s week. They stop him from feeling isolated during lockdown and are helping him to keep fit, both physically and mentally.”

Grandmother and grandson - connecting for generations